Panthers (V) – 9 Hammond – 8
The Panther varsity baseball team caged the Skyhawks 9-8 in extra innings on Monday night to run their number of consecutive victories to nine (equaling the Panthers record established by the 2014 team). This was an exciting game that was back and forth all night. The Panthers continued to display their resilience and never say die attitude by fighting back from a three run deficit after four innings and scoring one run in the seventh inning to tie the game and send it into extra innings. (Note: This is the third time in their nine game win streak that the Panthers have fought their way back from a three run deficit).
The Skyhawks took the lead in the bottom of the first when the plated two runs on two doubles and a steal of home (on a double steal). The Panthers dented the scoreboard and took the lead in the third innings when they plated four runs. John Edens singled to get everything going and then Anderson Blevins reached on an error. With one out, James Reed reached on a fielder’s choice which scored John. Anderson scored on a passed ball. Parker Pocock walked to reach base safely. James Reed scored on a passed ball and Parker scored on a sacrifice fly by Cal Hucks.
The Panthers did not hold onto their 4-2 lead very long as the Skyhawks soared back into the lead in the fourth inning when they plated five runs in the fourth inning. The Panthers were their own worst enemy in this inning, giving up four free passes. Robert Byrd had a bases clearing double to score three runs in the outburst.
The Panthers tied the game back up in the top of the sixth inning. Carson Floyd singled but was forced at second when John Edens hit into a fielder’s choice. Anderson hit an infield single to put runners at first and second. Cole Plyler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. James Reed then hit a hard grounder to the Skyhawk shortstop which was booted for an error that allowed two runs to score (Edens and Blevins). Cole then scored on a single to center field by Cal Hucks.
The game was not tied for long as the Skyhawks scored on run in the bottom of the sixth to retake the lead. Robert Byrd had another double to score Thomas Love who had reached via a base on balls.
It was now the seventh inning and the Panthers were down to their last chance to tie or win the game. Carson Floyd struck out but reached first base when the catcher could not handle the pitch and it went all the way to the backstop. John Edens singled putting runners on first and second. Anderson hit a hard grounder up the middle that the Skyhawks fielded and forced John at second. Anderson then stole second base, putting runners at second and third. Cole Plyer walked to load the bases bringing James Reed to the plate. James stroked a single to center field that scored Carson with the Skyhawks throwing out Anderson at home on a bang bang play. The Skyhawks did not score in the bottom of the frame so the fans got to enjoy some free baseball as the game went into extra innings.
Neither team threatened in the eighth inning. In the ninth, Ell Williams was thrown out at home to snuff out a Panther threat. Hammond got one runner on in the bottom of the frame but solid defense by the Panthers prevented the Skyhawks from scoring. The game moved to the tenth inning.
Cal Hucks reached base due to an error with two outs with Cal taking second on an errant throw. Daniel Williams singled to center and Cal raced home to give the Panthers the lead. A strikeout ended the inning for the Panthers. The Skyhawks came to bat needing one run to tie the game. The Panthers walked the first batter but the next three Skyhawk batters struck out giving the Panthers a hard fought victory.
The Panthers had ten hits in the game (out hitting the Skyhawks by four). John Edens continued breaking out of his slump by stroking three singles. He also scored two runs. Daniel had two singles. Others with hits included Anderson, Eli Cal and James.
James Reed was the starter for the Panthers. He pitched four innings; allowing seven runs, two of which were earned. He gave up only four hits but allowed five free passes (four of which scored). He was relieved by Matthew Derrick who pitched the final six innings. Matthew allowed one earned run on two hits. He struck out four and allowed four free passes. Matthew earned the win, improving his record to 3-0.
Game Notes: The Panthers had twenty-four productive at bats in the game. The Panthers had nine assists in the game, led by Anderson with three. James and Matthew both had two. The Panthers record is now 15-3. They take to the diamond again on Monday night against Heathwood Hall at Heathwood’s field. Game time is 7:00.